It’s Mike Miller’s turn to run the New York Knicks, but don’t expect drastic and immediate changes under the interim head coach.
NEW YORK, NY—The Mike Miller era begins. The basketball lifer and first-time NBA head coach steps to the podium for the first time as head coach of the New York Knicks. He does so much like David Fizdale did during his tenure—alone.
This is Miller’s fifth season with the organization with the first four coming with the G League Westchester Knicks. Miller was quick to acknowledge Fizdale and thank the organization for the opportunity.
Knicks HC Mike Miller’s opening statement. He acknowledges David Fizdale for the opportunity to join his staff and thanks the organization, one he’s been with in some role for five years #NewYorkForever @EliteSportsNY pic.twitter.com/WgxjA4y1mc
— Danny Small (@dwsmall8) December 7, 2019
“Let me start, I would like to thank Coach Fiz for the opportunity to be a part of his staff and to work with such a great group of coaches,” Miller said in his pregame presser. “I’m very appreciative there and I’d like to thank the entire Knicks organization. I’ve been here as you know, this is my fifth year working for the Knicks and I’m very appreciative to the entire organization for giving me the opportunity to start and work my way up into the organization.”
The former G League Coach of the Year is taking over a team that is in a complete freefall. The 4-18 Knicks are losers of eight straight, with the last two losses coming by 44- and 37-point margins.
That being said, don’t expect Miller to bring major changes schematically or rotation-wise. In fact, Miller is sticking with the starting lineup of Frank Ntilikina, RJ Barrett, Marcus Morris Sr., Julius Randle, and Taj Gibson despite the fact that Fizdale hinted at starting lineup changes on Friday.
It’s impossible to blame the new head coach for being hesitant to implement wholesale changes. Miller has yet to have a practice as head coach of the team given the fact that Fizdale was let go after the team’s Friday practice.
If fans were looking for anything noteworthy from Miller in his first media availability, they’ll be disappointed. There was plenty of coach-speak about consistency, movement, preparation, and belief.
Indiana Pacers head coach Nate McMillan spoke briefly about Fizdale in his pregame press conference. The NBA coaching fraternity tends to look out for its own and as expected, McMillan had nothing but kind things to say about Fizdale.
“It’s always tough. This is a tough job,” McMillan said. “When you have a new group, such as he had coming into this season, I don’t know how many free agents, but that’s a new roster. It’s going to take some time. You have to be patient with the process. Look at their schedule and who they played in their first 20-something games. They played a pretty good schedule.
“I mean, the last eight games they’ve lost all have been against playoff teams and I think four or five of those teams people are considering possibly winning…When you have a new group, you’ve got to be patient. Unfortunately, as coaches, sometimes you get caught in a storm.”
The most notable aspect of the pregame media availability was the fact that Miller was out there by himself. Team president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry have yet to field questions from the media about the coaching change. Miller noted that the front office has been supportive of him, but that’s about all we know at this stage.
The pregame press conference would have been a great opportunity for the front office to step forward, answer the difficult questions about the state of the team, and provide their new head coach with public support. Eventually, the front office will have to answer that bell.
Perhaps a postgame press conference from Mills and Perry is in the works. But we’ll just have to wait and see.